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New stations added to REM project

Posted on November 29, 2016

CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has announced the addition of three new stations to the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) project. The Bassin Peel, McGill and Édouard-Montpetit stations will improve downtown Montréal service and further integrate the REM into the métro system through connections to the Orange, Green and Blue lines. The new stations were made possible by the development of innovative solutions to complex technical issues.

The three new stations will:

  • Increase efficient use of public transit in the Greater Montréal area by fully integrating the REM into the métro network;
  • Alleviate pressure on the métro’s Orange line, particularly south of the Blue line;
  • Ensure easier access via the Édouard-Montpetit Station to university campuses (Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal) and hospitals (CHU Sainte-Justine, Jewish General Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital);
  • Improve access to downtown Montréal, the underground city (RÉSO) and McGill University via the McGill Station;
  • Improve public transit service to Griffintown, Pointe-Saint-Charles and Cité du Multimédia;
  • Create new points of departure from the downtown core to the Montréal-Trudeau airport.

A network embedded in downtown Montreal

“Efficient downtown service and the seamless integration of the REM into the métro system have always been core objectives of our project. That’s why we’ve been working for months to develop workable technical solutions to address key public needs. Today, we’re pleased to announce plans for the construction of these new stations during the first phase the REM and take one more step towards completing a vital project for Montréal,” said Michael Sabia, president and chief executive officer of la Caisse.

“With the addition of the three downtown stations, the REM is even more transformative for Montréal. The McGill Station, in the heart of downtown, and the Édouard-Montpetit Station, close to Université de Montréal and hospitals in the Côte-des-Neiges area, will add connections to the Green and Blue lines. The Bassin Peel Station will create faster and easier access to Griffintown and Pointe-Saint-Charles, vibrant areas undergoing significant growth. It’s a 50-year-old vision that is taking shape with the realization of an integrated 138-km public transit network that meets the needs of users”, said Denis Coderre, mayor of Montréal and president of Montréal Metropolitan Community.

“The Québec government has backed the REM project since it was announced, and today reaffirms its intent to participate in its financing. Construction of the three new stations during the first phase of the project is very good news. This decision is fully in line with our commitment to maximize the integration of transit systems of the Greater Montréal area with the REM project, and for this reason the Québec government will be a financial partner in the three new stations, and in the project as a whole. We have started to plan the road projects adjacent to the REM route to ensure easy access to the 27 stations. All our actions are guided by our goal to offer the metropolitan area an ambitious and modern public transit system, that will facilitate people’s commute,” said Laurent Lessard, minister of transport, sustainable mobility and transport electrification.

“Today’s announcement is the result of the expertise and hard work of our technical teams, and of their collaboration with our different partners, particularly the city of Montréal. Considering the depth of the Mont-Royal Tunnel and the density of the built environment, the downtown stations presented particular technical challenges. But we were successful in developing innovative solutions. We are very proud of this progress, which confirms our commitment to integrate the REM into Montreal’s central areas and existing transit systems,” pointed out Macky Tall, president and chief executive officer of CDPQ Infra.

Efficient solutions

The technical solutions address the specific challenges and needs of each station and allow for efficient connections between the REM and the métro:

Édouard-Montpetit Station

The depth of the station (70 m) presented significant challenges, particularly in terms of building escalators. Because all REM stations will be universally accessible, the solution relies on a high-frequency, high-capacity and high-speed system of four elevators (5,000 persons/hour; 20-floor transfer in around 20 seconds). Users will be able to transfer from the REM to the metro quickly and seamlessly.

McGill Station

Located in the southern section of the Mont-Royal Tunnel, this station was particularly complex to integrate into the métro network, given the density of the built environment downtown. The station will be located below McGill College Avenue and will connect to the métro’s Green line and to Montréal’s Underground City (RÉSO), offering different points of access to downtown and Eastern Montréal. This new station will also make it easier to travel from McGill University’s downtown location to its Macdonald campus located in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Bassin Peel Station

Two potential stations (Bridge-Wellington and Du Havre) were initially planned to serve this area. To strengthen public transit service to these high-growth areas, CDPQ Infra will build one station under the Peel Basin with one exit leading to Griffintown and the other to Pointe-Saint-Charles. This new station will ensure better service for a significant employment hub (Cité du Multimédia) and for the currently booming Griffintown area.

Financing of new stations

The addition of the three stations increases the total number of REM stations to 27 and brings project construction costs to approximately $5.9 billion, or $5.5 billion for the reference project and $400 million for the new stations.

To finance the new stations, la Caisse will increase its participation by $100 million, bringing its total commitment to the project to $3.1 billion. Montréal is also announcing a $100-million commitment towards the construction of these three stations. The Québec government will be a financial partner in the construction of these three stations. The exact amount will be announced at a later date.

Next steps and conditions for success

Construction of the REM, including the three new stations, remains conditional upon the financial participation of the governments of Québec and Canada, which form an integral part of the prospective financing structure.

Over the past few months, CDPQ Infra has carried out a consultation process with different stakeholders, involving more than 150 participants. Open house sessions have reached more than 1,500 people to date, in all areas that would be served by the REM’s extensive network.

New open house sessions will be held in late November and early December (see the complete list of dates). CDPQ Infra’s participation in the BAPE environmental hearing process also allowed for the input of many people, groups, organizations, and municipalities. The commission’s report is expected by the end of December 2016.

Construction of the REM is expected to begin in 2017 and the first trains are expected to be in operation at the end of 2020.

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